Monday, September 21, 2009
Confessions of a Composting Newbie Pt. II
What do I do in the winter? Do I continue adding kitchen scraps to the pile, which will eventually freeze into a block of half-decomposed ice-muck? I don't want to throw a season's worth of scraps in the garbage. What's a composter in a cold climate to do?
I'm not sure how to handle the cold weather, but I have learned a few important lessons about composting this year:
1. One pile isn't enough. I need a second so that I can let one pile decompose fully and still have a place to dispose of kitchen scraps and spent plants.
2. Brown matter must be kept on hand at all times. My pile has struggled with a lack of leaves and an overabundance of "green matter." This fall I will save leaves that can be added continuously to the compost pile(s).
3. It takes a while. Even if we had experienced normal temperatures this summer, instead of the cool and rainy perma-spring that masqueraded as summer, the process of composting takes longer than I expected. As a generally impatient person, this is my fault for thinking unrealistically.
4. It saves an incredible amount of garbage. I pride myself on not producing a lot of garbage. Even with our house's diaper waste, we recycle prodigiously and do pretty well at reusing things too. I think it could be a lot worse. But I have been amazed at how composing food waste has cut down on our garbage even more dramatically. Now I feel like I can't go back to making as much trash as before, so what can I do with all my food waste in the winter?
PS--For all of you going to Raleigh this week for GWA, have a great time and a safe trip, and be sure to post on all the sights and sounds!